Durham County

Want to give Rover a holiday bone treat? Think again, says FDA

The FDA is warning dog lovers that “bone treats” might cause choking or worse. In this August 2016 photo, Nell Barnes, right, president of the Neuse River Golden Retriever Rescue, feeds her dog Simon a dog treat at the Neuse River Brewing Company in Raleigh.
The FDA is warning dog lovers that “bone treats” might cause choking or worse. In this August 2016 photo, Nell Barnes, right, president of the Neuse River Golden Retriever Rescue, feeds her dog Simon a dog treat at the Neuse River Brewing Company in Raleigh. The News & Observer

The Food and Drug Administration is warning dog owners to reconsider giving their pets bone treats for the holidays.

The FDA received about 68 reports of pet illnesses related to “bone treats,” which differ from uncooked butcher-type bones because they are processed and packaged for sale as dog treats. The wrong kind of chew toy can cause gastrointestinal blockage, choking, vomiting, diarrhea and even death.

The reports were received between Nov. 1, 2010, and Sept. 12, 2017, and involved 90 dogs, with some reports involving two or more animals.

The FDA recommends keeping chicken bones and other bones away from dogs and out of the trash where dogs can find them.

Chewing is normal behaior for dogs, and the FDA warning may leave many dog lovers wondering if there is a safe substitute.

There are products that are safe and will divert your dog’s attention (at least for awhile) from your slippers. The Animal Protection Society of Durham uses products like Nylabone and chew toys made by the Kong Company, products that have proven safe over time, said Shafonda Davis, executive director.

Animal shelter employees and volunteers do not give dogs bones at all, either raw or cooked, Davis said. “We make sure that everything we give to our animals is very safe,” she said. Shelter workers even match individual dogs with their specific chew toys to prevent choking, she said.

Dog owners who want more information about safe chew toys should speak to their veterinarians, Davis said.

For more tips on safety, visit http://yourdogsfriend.org/help/chewing/.

Cliff Bellamy: 919-419-6744, @CliffBellamy1

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